Transcribed from the 13 December 2014 episode of This is Hell! Radio and printed with permission. Edited for space and readability. Listen to the whole interview:
“The police will argue that they have to be heavy-handed with criminals because they’re under attack, because it’s a ‘war.’ But they won’t admit that they’re creating a climate of terror.”
Chuck Mertz: We’re speaking with our irregular correspondent in Rio de Janeiro, Brian Mier. He is social media director for the Brazilian National Urban Reform Forum and a freelance writer and producer. Yesterday he posted the article The Police and the Massacre of Afro-Brazilian Youth.
Good morning, Brian.
Brian Mier: Hey, how’s it going?
CM: Very well, sir. You write about a new Brazilian documentary called Point Blank. It tells the story of the past twenty years of massacres committed by the Rio de Janeiro military police. These chacinas are frequently committed in retribution for a killed police officer, and traditionally involve coming into a poor neighborhood and killing random Afro-Brazilian youth.
Can you explain the hierarchy of the police forces in Brazil?
BM: If you think it’s bad in Chicago, imagine having multiple police forces operating in every city. First there is the traditional civil police in Brazil that investigates robberies and homicides and things like that. Then there’s military police, which has been around for a very long time, but they were given extra powers during the military dictatorship. And when the dictatorship ended, nobody removed their special powers.
AntiNote: the following is an extended excerpt of a radio interview, edited for readability.
On 19 April 2014, Chuck Mertz of This is Hell! Radio (Chicago) interviewed Brian Mier, an expatriate in Brazil who writes and podcasts about Brazilian society and politics from a critical, radical perspective.
Especially refreshing in Mier’s analysis—which preceded last month’s major flare-ups in the anti-World Cup protests in cities across Brazil—is his discussion of U.S. interests being subtly expressed (and served) in Western commercial media’s coverage of the current tumults. In this way, the separate aims of two massively influential neoliberal actors—FIFA and USAID—intersect, and Mier’s observations can be related directly to conversations we have been having on Antidote about other places, especially Ukraine.
“One of the reasons why media outlets like the New York Times are smearing Brazil right now is they’re trying to create a sense of instability that will favor the opposition, who they hope will privatize the state petroleum company in the future.”
AntiNote: The following is an extended excerpt of a radio interview, edited for readability.
On 21 December 2013, Chuck Mertz of This is Hell! Radio (Chicago) interviewed Brian Mier, an expatriate in Brazil who writes and podcasts about Brazilian society and politics from a critical, radical perspective. He is a regular guest on This is Hell!, an Irregular Correspondent as they say, and spoke about FIFA’s neoliberal stranglehold on Brazil (as well as on other past and future host countries) and the multivalent protests that have rolled through that country since last summer. We consider his analysis helpful in apprehending the more recent flare-ups that led yet again to spectacular headlines in alternative media last week.
Thank you to This is Hell! for supporting what we hope will be an ongoing collaboration.
Raúl Zibechi explores the autonomous and horizontal forms of organization, direct action and consensus decision-making behind the Brazilian uprising.
The huge mobilizations in June 2013 in 353 cities and towns in Brazil came as as much of a surprise to the political system as to analysts and social bodies. Nobody expected so many demonstrations, so numerous, in so many cities and for so long. As happens in these cases, media analyses were quickly off the mark. Initially they focused on the immediate problems highlighted by the actions: urban transport, rising fare prices and the poor quality of service for commuters. Slowly the analyses and perspectives expanded to include the day-to-day dissatisfaction felt by a large part of the population. While there was widespread acknowledgement that basic family income had risen during the last decade of economic growth, social commentators began to focus on economic inclusion through consumption as the root of the dissatisfaction, alongside the persistence of social inequality.